Now this is a film! It was written and directed by six-time Oscar winner Billy Wilder, the genius behind Some Like it Hot, The Apartment and Sunset Boulevard, so you should know you can’t go far wrong. Throw in a devilishly seductive Barbara Stanwyck, a fast-talking-high-trouser-wearing Fred MacMurray, and gangster film stalwart Edward G. Robinson, and you’ve got yourself a true film noir classic.
Stanwyck’s Phyllis Dietrichson is married to a man she doesn’t love and when insurance salesman Walter Neff (MacMurray) makes a house call, she sees a way out – murder. SPOILER ALERT: the pair hatch a plot to bump off her old man, collect the insurance payout and sail off into the sunset together. Neff’s boss is a total bloodhound though, and suspects something fishy, which throws a pretty massive spanner in their combined works.
Double Indemnity is a pacey thriller, with some crackling dialogue delivered with style and precision by a small but top-notch cast. The story is engaging, the characters intriguing and the whole thing is beautifully shot in moody black and white. The wonderful use of light and shade only serves to heighten the sense that something bad is about to happen.